After a day walking in the countryside in glorious winter sunshine on Sunday we were ready for a proper dinner. I had noticed an interesting recipe for Poulet au Vinaigre in the Guardian’s Cook supplement – I am really enjoying the articles by Iranian-American Samin Nosrat in her residency.
As it is a classic French recipe I thought I’d have a look at other recipes too, only to find that none of my cookbooks included the dish, not even Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This may be a reflection of the fact that I have fewer classic French cookbooks than I thought (a good excuse for a trip to the bookshop?). Searching online led me to Diana Henry’s recipe in House and Garden magazine, and it was this that Irene used as a base (I was strictly sous-chef on this occasion).
These quantities are for two generous portions (don’t be fooled by the picture above – we had seconds!). We served it with parsnips rather than the boiled waxy potatoes that Diana Henry recommends, and some broccoli – a green salad afterwards would probably be a more authentic way of getting your greens. To start we had prawn and avocado salad – sounds posh but I had a few prawns left from making fish pie on Friday and half an avocado that needed eating – and berry and frangipane bake for dessert. A delicious end to a beautiful day.
4 chicken joints
1 large or 2 small shallots
2 large cloves of garlic, unpeeled
2 tbsp white-wine vinegar
150ml dry white wine
2 tbsp chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp brandy
1 tsp dijon mustard
½ tsp tomato purée
2 tbsp double cream
Peel the shallot(s) and chop finely. Melt the butter in a sauté pan, which has a lid. Dry the chicken and cut away any excess skin or fat. Put the chicken pieces into the pan, skin side down first, and brown them on all sides. Add the shallots and garlic and cover the pan. Turn the heat right down and cook gently for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
After about 20 minutes put the oven on and heat to 130ºC/Fan 110ºC/Gas mark ½ – this is to keep the chicken warm while you’re finishing the sauce. Once the chicken is done, tranfer it to an oven-proof serving dish, loosely cover with foil and pop into the oven.
Pour the fat out of the pan but don’t wash it. Add the vinegar and stir to incorporate all the nice sticky bits from cooking the chicken. Boil quickly until you have about a third of the liquid left, then stir in the wine, stock, brandy, mustard and tomato purée, mixing well. Boil this until reduced to sauce consistency, then push it through a sieve into a clean saucepan, squashing the garlic cloves so that their soft flesh is added to the sauce. Add the cream and bring to the boil. Pour the sauce over the warm chicken in its dish and serve.
The original recipe finished the sauce with little cubes of cold butter whisked into the sauce (after you’ve added the cream), but Irene decided that this would be a bit too rich for a Sunday supper – maybe something for a grander occasion. The dish is also supposed to have a garnish of a large plum tomato, skinned, de-seeded and cut into strips, but there were no tomatoes in the house on Sunday. It was nonetheless extremely tasty and satisfying, the tartness of the vinegar adding complexity and depth to the creamy sauce. Highly recommended.